A goldsmith is a Metalworking who specializes in working with gold and other . Nowadays they mainly specialize in jewelry-making but historically, goldsmiths have also made cutlery, platters, , decorative and serviceable utensils, and ceremonial or religious items.
Goldsmiths must be skilled in forming metal through filing, brazing, , forging, casting, and polishing. The trade has very often included jewelry-making skills, as well as the very similar skills of the silversmith. Traditionally, these skills had been passed along through ; more recently jewelry arts schools, specializing in teaching goldsmithing and a multitude of skills falling under the jewelry arts umbrella, are available. Many universities and junior colleges also offer goldsmithing, silversmithing, and metal arts fabrication as a part of their fine arts curriculum.
Some pieces date back thousands of years and were made using many techniques that still are used by modern goldsmiths. Techniques developed by some of those goldsmiths achieved a skill level that was lost and remained beyond the skills of those who followed, even to modern times.American Chemical Society, Ancient technology for metal coatings 2,000 years ago can't be matched even today, ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, July 24, 2013, Researchers attempting to uncover the chemical techniques used by ancient artisans have remarked that their findings confirm that "the high level of competence reached by the artists and craftsmen of these ancient periods who produced objects of an artistic quality that could not be bettered in ancient times and has not yet been reached in modern ones."Gabriel Maria Ingo, Giuseppe Guida, Emma Angelini, Gabriella Di Carlo, Alessio Mezzi, Giuseppina Padeletti, Ancient Mercury-Based Plating Methods: Combined Use of Surface Analytical Techniques for the Study of Manufacturing Process and Degradation Phenomena, Accounts of Chemical Research, 2013; 130705111206005 DOI: 10.1021/ar300232e
In medieval Europe goldsmiths were organized into and usually were one of the most important and wealthiest of the guilds in a city. The guild kept records of members and the marks they used on their products. These records, when they survive, are very useful to historians. Goldsmiths often acted as , since they dealt in gold and had sufficient security for the safe storage of valuable items, though they were usually restrained from lending at interest, which was regarded as usury. In the Middle Ages, goldsmithing normally included silversmithing as well, but the brass workers and workers in other normally were members of a separate guild, since the trades were not allowed to overlap. Many also were goldsmiths.
The Sunar caste is one of the oldest communities in goldsmithing in India, whose superb gold artworks were displayed at The Great Exhibition of 1851 in London. In India, 'Daivadnya Brahmins',Vishwakarma (Viswabrahmins,Acharis)'Sunar' are the goldsmith castes.
The printmaking technique of engraving developed among goldsmiths in Germany around 1430, who had long used the technique on their metal pieces. The notable of the fifteenth century were either goldsmiths, such as Master E. S., or the sons of goldsmiths, such as Martin Schongauer and Albrecht Dürer.
The goldsmith will use a variety of tools and machinery, including the rolling mill, the drawplate, and perhaps, and other forming tools to make the metal into shapes needed to build the intended piece. Then parts are fabricated through a wide variety of processes and assembled by brazing. It is a testament to the history and evolution of the trade that those skills have reached an extremely high level of attainment and skill over time. A fine goldsmith can and will work to a tolerance approaching that of precision machinery, but largely using only his eyes and hand tools. Quite often the goldsmith's job involves the making of mountings for , in which case they often are referred to as jewelers.
'Jeweller', however, is a term mostly reserved for a person who deals in jewellery (buys and sells) and not to be confused with a goldsmith, silversmith, gemologist, diamond cutter, and diamond setters. A 'jobbing jeweller' is the term for a jeweller who undertakes a small basic amount of jewellery repair and alteration.
File:Christus saint eloi orfèvre.jpg|Renaissance goldsmith shop File:Codice Casanatense Brahmin Goldsmiths.jpg|A Brahmin goldsmith from Goa, India, 16th century File:Taller orfebrería Museo artes y costumbres populares Sevilla.jpg|Goldsmith's workshop in Museum of Arts and Popular Customs of Seville File:COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Een goudsmid aan het werk in de Karolanden TMnr 10014301.jpg|A Karo people (Indonesia) goldsmith in Sumatra (circa 1918) File:COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Goudsmeden aan het werk in goudsmidwinkel Atjeh TMnr 10014478.jpg|Goldsmith shop in Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia during the early-20th century. The man in the middle may be a "Klingalees" (orang Keling), someone from South India